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Tips to keep your online transaction secure

Online shopping is exciting. In the years since the first online transaction was carried out, online shopping has grown to over $20 billion dollars of annual spend in Australia. Yet despite the undeniable convenience and unprecedented opportunity for small businesses, the threat of online theft still runs deep.

You've got any product in the world a few clicks away, but lurking in the background are the dangers of online transactions. Given most consumers trust in online shopping, many users will enter their card details with little consideration as to the site or owner of the form.

Thankfully, the world of internet shopping is constantly fighting threats against theft and fraud through the advancement of security technologies. But to be targeted or impacted still remains a considerable inconvenience.

Ways to quickly and easily negate risk of theft

Set a good password

You're nagged to set a strong password every time you create a new account. But we usually just revert to our old favourite, because they're our signature password and we'll never forget it.

However, if your password is ever copied on a dodgy form or fake ecommerce site, it will grant the hacker access to every online asset you have.

As novel as the solution sounds, it is incredibly efficient. Store all of your passwords (containing upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols) in a physical notebook. Keep your important details offline.

Know the common threats

No one is ever going to contact you offering millions of dollars. It would be great if it was true, but many scammers still rely on the naivety of users that could use a few extra dollars.

The same goes for most emails. If you're ever contacted from a website or user that you didn't expect, it will likely be false.

If you receive an email from a business and you're unsure if it is fraudulent or not, consider checking the domain on the email with the domain listed on the business' official emails.

Businesses are very aware of security threats; they don't want to lose the trust of their customers. They will likely have systems in place if they require any of your sensitive information. Rarely would this occur within a simple email trail.

Your online shopping login

Always log out of bank, credit card, and merchant sites after you have completed your transaction. Do not allow your computer to store user names and passwords for merchant or banking websites. Anyone else who uses your computer will have access and so will any hackers with remote access.

When a website asks you to set security questions, always submit falsified answers and keep track of your responses. This way, your personal details are limited. People often use personal information within their passwords, so getting a hold of their security question answers can allude to their password.

Consider using a reputable service such as PayPal or Visa CheckOut for online transactions whenever possible. These are trusted service providers, who will keep your details incredibly secure. Additionally, they have dispute resolution services to help get your money back if it was ever stolen.

Online transactions should occur only on a secure website. You can determine whether a site is secure by seeing whether it begins with https://. Never submit your banking details on a website missing the S after http at the start of the URL.

Your browser

All browsers are different, and as such carry varying levels of security. When your chosen browser releases later versions, it will do so with upgraded security features and protection. Be sure to have the latest version downloaded for your online shopping and banking needs.

If you have chosen for your browser to retain your login details, ensure that you are using an advanced browser such as Google Chrome which encrypts all personal details to avoid hacking or remote access.

Your wifi connection

Always pay bills and do your shopping using wifi that you trust. Many public networks will be unsecured, meaning that everybody using the network for their browsing are exposed to potential hacking. This is particularly problematic when you're entering card details or doing your banking using these networks.

Ensure that you always use a wifi connection at a place that you trust, such as your home, friends home or place of employment.

Your credit cards

Use only one credit card for online purchases in order to limit your accounts that are susceptible to fraud and theft. If you feel uncomfortable using a credit card, you can use a pre-paid debit card instead. You will be able to load enough money for each transaction, this will ensure there will be no money to steal if you are ever scammed.

Your purchase history

Keep records of every online payment you've made then cross-check with your card statement at the end of the month. Highlight any discrepancies and speak to your card issuer.

Learn what each of your credit cards offers as fraud protection and liability protection. Learn what the dollar amount limits are for your fraud protection coverage.

Theft and fraud happen. By being alert and ensuring you only use trusted websites, you can reduce the risk of ever being a victim.

If you believe you have suffered from online theft or fraud, you can call Suncorp on 13 11 55 to discuss and resolve any issues.

Information is intended to be of a general nature only and any advice has been prepared without taking into account any person's particular objectives, financial situation or needs. You should make your own enquiries, consider whether advice is appropriate for you and read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement or Product Information Document before making any decisions about whether to acquire a product